Every year, over 40 million Americans are on the move. As in many other industries, this high volume attracts fraudsters looking to take you for a ride. Fortunately enough, most of these moves happen without ugly incidences due to the most moving companies adhering to strict laws and industry standards. Still, a few conniving scam artists manage to slip through it all and may wreak economic and psychological havoc on you.
To avoid moving scams, it is paramount to conduct extensive background searches on any company you engage with; if it’s a scam, the search will raise red flags. Here are four moving scams to be on the lookout for during this arduous undertaking;
MOVING SCAM 1: LOWBALLING
Some scandalous moving companies will deliberately lowball the cost of a move as their way of attracting more customers. As in the case with most things, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Victims of lowballing during the quoting process find unexpected fees are charged on moving day. Usually, to get the unpleasantness over with, victims are all but forced to part with way more than had earlier been agreed.
The most common excuses include extra charges for protecting delicate or large items. No matter how convincing these extra charges sound, always ask for written confirmation; you can use it to seek legal recourse from fraudulent companies. When the estimate is way cheaper than the industry standard, watch out. Having paid for the moving as a package, you shouldn’t pay for any fuel or toll fees.
MOVING SCAM 2: SHIFTING SCALES
For interstate moving, most movers charge their fee based on the movable weight. In taking advantage of this provision, scam movers weigh the tonnage in your absence and quote a much higher weight. Aware of the blind spot in laws governing movement, the federal government enacted a law according to you the right to be present at a re-weigh. Hold back on payment until you’ve read an accurate account of the true weight.
Other movers show up at your door with a weight ticket on hand; never mind that the truck’s empty and still running. Once it’s been loaded, the scammers then weigh it again, factoring in the full tank of gas. Every other item, including the little additional ones, are all charged with the mover insisting on the need to pay up. As much as possible, avoid getting entangled in weight-based quotes; you stand to lose a lot.
MOVING SCAM 3: HOSTAGE SCENARIO
This goes beyond a moving scam and ventures eerily close to infringement of your rights and harassment. Though a distasteful habit, it’s common for manipulative movers to refuse to unlock the truck upon arrival until you’ve settled their additional arrears. One in every ten movers is subjected to this abusive treatment, with the mover’s main aim being extorting more money for a deal already done.
In essence, these scam movers are asking for ransom illegally. To be on the safe side, ensure all payments are made upfront and on paper, giving undeniable proof of your compliance and actionable evidence in a court of law should it come to that.
MOVING SCAM 4: DECEITFUL BROKERS
With the advancement in technology, scam artists have digitized their trade; if you’re unfortunate, they’ll rip you off online or on the phone without leaving any verifiable paper trail. Often, this crop of scam movers avoid physical meetings at all costs and offer incredibly cheap services, too good to be true. They won’t hesitate in asking for an up-front deposit for processing necessary documents’ or some other fabricated lie.
Eventually, the moving company for which the broker’ works for will show up on moving day but you can bet it will be shocking for both parties. The movers will demand a higher quote that what you agreed on with the broker, sometimes indicating no receipt of deposit. On trying to reach the agents, you’ll be lucky to find the line still active. With no actionable information, there’s no way of recovering the deposit. Always deal with registered movers who are insured in case of any eventuality. Ensure all communication and payment is on paper too.
These four moving scams to be on the lookout for having aggravated a great deal of families across the country. Do your homework before settling on a moving company and even then, look for honest reviews from other customers to ascertain that their word is their bond. Of course, this is never an issue with Route 66 Moving, as we’re fully licensed, insured, and hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.